Toyota kicked off the 2019 Vios Racing Festival with its first ever Autocross challenge

By Nicole Ganglani | Photos by Javier Lobregat

April 30 was a special Sunday for motorsports enthusiasts as Toyota’s first Vios Autocross challenge was held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds. The first ever autocross race proved to be a different kind of challenge for professional racers, celebrities, social media personalities, Toyota owners, and media representatives who all geared up for the competition.

The Toyota Vios proved to be the best autocross car

With the goal to make the tournament more inclusive, the Japanese automaker company planned a slew of activities including autocross races, interactive games for fans, and shotgun rides. And like the scorching weather that day, the competition was intense from the start.

Moments before the tournament, racers got the chance to test their cars on the track

The tournament was divided into three categories: The Celebrity Class, the Media Class for the media representatives, and the Social Media Personalities Class for the social media personalities.

The Toyota Media Car Club Class

All participants had to navigate through a short winding obstacle course with the aim of completing it in the shortest time possible. Two tracks were mirrored against each other filled with cones and barriers to make up the challenge. Every barrier knocked down would result in a three-second penalty.

From left: Daniel Matsunaga, Troy Montero, Aubrey Miles, Gerald Anderson, Chie Filomeno, and Fabio Ide sat down to meet and greet their fans

The Celebrity Class field consisted of Fabio Ide, Chie Filomeno, Gretchen Ho, Troy Montero, and Aubrey Miles alongside newbies Daniel Matsunaga and Gerald Anderson. While Matsunaga and Anderson put up a good fight, the more experienced celebrities, specifically Ide and Montero, went on to advance to the final round.

Troy Montero tallied the best time of the day after finishing the track in 1:10.36

The race between Montero and Ide was the most exciting matchup. As soon as the two hit the track, Ide was ahead by a slight margin but unfortunately bumped a barrier towards the end. Montero, who was driving faster, overtook the Brazilian model and eventually came out victorious.

Montero bagged top honors after setting the best record of the day with 1:10.36 against Ide’s 1:14.10. Iñigo Anton topped the Motul Car Club Class with 1:11.13 followed by Mickey Carbonell (1:12.23) and Daryl Brandy (1:12.47). Reph Bangsil led the Rota Influencers Class after finishing his round in 1.17.06 against competitors Karl Gabriel (1:20.95) and Klea Pineda (1.23.17).

“Autocross is a bit different than racing,” said Ide. “I would tell people to try it because it’s a great experience. You get to experience driving the [Toyota Vios] in the track where it’s all cones and barriers. It’s fun and I think everyone should try it at least once.”

The Toyota Vios Autocross tournament was indeed a unique sight for the sporting scene in the country. Not only did the tournament give motorsports fans a day full of exciting activities but the event also introduced the underrated sport to the country.

Gerald Anderson said it best: “If you want to try something different or a thrilling experience in general, then go for autocross.”

According to celebrity racer Gretchen Ho, the autocross challenge was a brilliant way to encourage Filipinos to get into the sport.

“I love how [Toyota] is doing this,” Ho said, after she showcased her best performance yet with a time of 1:14.77. “Although it’s difficult to get into this, [Toyota] is sponsoring a lot of people just to get their interest and their passion for the sport. It’s nice to be able to share that with other people.” 

Thanks to the Toyota Vios Racing Festival, hundreds of Filipinos witnessed the country’s largest motorsport event. Suffice it to say that it was truly a meaningful day for the sporting scene of the country.

Next up for the Vios Racing Festival (VRF) tournament is the Circuit Challenge happening on Jun. 8 at the Clark International Speedway. Admission is free.

For more updates about Toyota Autocross and Vios Circuit, visit the official Toyota website and Facebook page.